Everybody recognizes that exercising and keeping yourself in shape is good for your overall health but you may not realize that losing weight is also good for your hearing.
Studies have demonstrated that exercising and eating healthy can strengthen your hearing and that individuals who are overweight have an increased chance of getting hearing loss. Learning more about these relationships can help you make healthy hearing decisions for you and your family.
Adult Hearing And Obesity
A Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s study showed women with a high body mass index (BMI) were at an increased risk of having hearing loss. The connection between body fat and height is what BMI measures. The higher the number the higher the body fat. The higher the BMI of the 68,000 women in the study, the higher their hearing impairment incidence. The participants who were the most overweight were as much as 25 percent more likely to experience hearing impairment!
In this study, waist size also ended up being a dependable indicator of hearing impairment. With women, as the waist size increases, the chance of hearing loss also increases. As a final point, participants who engaged in frequent physical activity had a lower incidence of hearing loss.
Obesity And Children’s Hearing
Research conducted by Columbia University’s Medical Center confirmed that obese teenagers had about twice the risk of experiencing hearing loss in one ear when compared to non-obese teenagers. These children experienced sensorineural hearing loss, which is caused by damage to sensitive hair cells in the inner ear that carry sound. This damage resulted in a decreased ability to hear sounds at low frequencies, which makes it hard to understand what people are saying in crowded places, like classrooms.
Children often don’t recognize they have a hearing problem so when they have hearing loss it’s especially worrisome. If the issue isn’t dealt with, there is a possibility the hearing loss might get worse when they become adults.
What is The Connection?
Obesity is associated with several health problems and researchers suspect that its connection with hearing loss and tinnitus lies with these health problems. High blood pressure, diabetes, and poor circulation are some of the health issues related to obesity and linked to hearing loss.
The sensitive inner ear contains various delicate parts such as nerve cells, little capillaries, and other parts which will quit working properly if they aren’t kept healthy. Good blood flow is crucial. This process can be hampered when obesity causes constricting of the blood vessels and high blood pressure.
The cochlea is a part of the inner ear which receives sound vibrations and transmits them to the brain for translation. The cochlea can be damaged if it doesn’t get adequate blood flow. Damage to the cochlea and the adjoining nerve cells can rarely be undone.
Is There Anything You Can do?
Women who stayed healthy and exercised regularly, according to a Brigham and Women’s Hospital study, had a 17% reduced likelihood of developing hearing loss compared to women who didn’t. Reducing your risk, however, doesn’t mean you have to be a marathon runner. The simple act of walking for at least two hours each week can lower your risk of hearing loss by 15%.
Your entire family will benefit from a better diet, as your diet can positively affect your hearing beyond the benefits gained through weight loss. If you have a child or grandchild in your family who is overweight, talk about steps your family can take to promote a healthier lifestyle. You can teach them exercises that are fun for kids and work them into family get-togethers. They might do the exercises on their own if they like them enough.
Talk to a hearing professional to determine if any hearing loss you may be experiencing is associated with your weight. Better hearing can be the result of weight loss and there’s help available. Your hearing specialist will identify your level of hearing loss and suggest the best strategy. A regimen of exercise and diet can be recommended by your primary care physician if needed.